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Recommended PC Desktop Hardware

Northwestern Information Technology (IT) establishes minimum hardware guidelines to assist in purchasing a computer for use at Northwestern. Check with your individual school for additional requirements.

Desktop — minimum

*NOTE* In order to comply with Northwestern IT's encryption policy, please turn on TPM (Trusted Platform Module) upon set up of your computer. This module allows the computer to be encrypted with Bitlocker, which is Northwestern IT's encryption solution.

Expect to use the computer for basic productivity, running multiple applications such as e-mail, web browsing, word processing, music and video players, and photo organization.

Category Description
Processor 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processor
Memory 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Hard drive 1TB SATA hard disk (7200 RPM)
CD/DVD drive Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Drive
Network Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Monitor 22" LCD display @60 Hz Refresh Rate with EnergyStar rating
Video card/VRAM Integrated graphics
Ports USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, or DVI
Operating system

Windows 8.1 64-bit Professional

Warranty 3 year onsite next business day warranty

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Desktop — power user

In addition to the tasks above, expect to resource intensive programs for audio/video editing, graphic design, running multiple operating systems, storing large multimedia files and playing games.

Category Description
Processor 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor
Memory 16GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Hard drive 1TB Hybrid disk (HDD & SSD) 
CD/DVD drive Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Drive (BD Optional)
Network Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Monitor 27" LED display @120 Hz with EnergyStar rating
Video card/VRAM 2 GB Dedicated Graphics Card
Ports

USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, or DVI

Operating system Windows 8.1 64-bit Professional
Warranty 3 year onsite next business day warranty

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Last Updated: 28 March 2017

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